Loossemble celebrate ‘Girls’ Night’ in music video for new single

Their sophomore mini-album ‘One Of A Kind’ is now out

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Loossemble have officially dropped their second mini-album ‘One Of A Kind’ alongside a music video for its title track, ‘Girls’ Night’.

Both the album and accompanying visual were released today (April 15) at 6pm KST, marking the five-piece’s first-ever comeback as a group since they debuted in September last year with a self-titled EP. 

In the music video, all five members of Loossemble gather in an empty parking lot for girls’ night and later have a slumber party. However, the occasion gets interrupted by sinister, otherworldly forces by the end of the video, as a levitating scanning device comes in contact with Gowon and Vivi’s eyes turn the same shade of red.

“Let’s start the girls’ night, if you want it, take it / Can you hear it? The tension that’s about to explode / We won’t go wrong, this is the future,” they belt on the upbeat pop track’s chorus.

The release of ‘One of a Kind’ marks Loossemble’s second release as a group so far, after debuting under CTDENM in September last year with title track ‘Sensitive’. The quintet signed with the label last year, following the end of a public contract dispute with their previous agency Blockberry Creative, involving all 12 original LOONA members.

Loossemble have also become the second LOONA-related act announced to release new music, with ARTMS – comprising fellow LOONA bandmates HaSeul, JinSoul, Choerry, Kim Lip and HeeJin – revealing earlier this month plans to drop their debut studio album ‘Dall’ in May.

In other K-pop news, Jackson Wang and BIBI debuted an unreleased track titled ‘Feeling Lucky’ for the first time on day two of Coachella this year, which took place on April 14. Both musicians were performing at the festival as part of 88rising’s ‘Futures’ set, and will return for the festival’s second weekend on April 21.

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Netflix’s ‘The 8 Show’: cast, plot, premiere date and all you need to know

Starring Ryu Jun-yeol, Chun Won-hee, Park Jeong-min and more

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Netflix has released brand-new details about its upcoming Korean original The 8 Showstarring including its plot, premiere date, cast and trailers. Read on for everything you need to know about the new series, starring Ryu Jun-yeol, Park Jeong-min and more.

What is the plot of The 8 Show?

Based on Bae Jin-soo’s hit webcomic series Money Game and Pi Game, eight people who are desperately in need of money are invited as contestants on a reality show called The 8 Show, sharing the Netflix series’ own namesake, which was presumably renamed for its adaptation.

The studio the show is filmed is eight stories high, and in the original webcomic, the eight contestants are tasked with lasting 100 full days on set in order to stand a chance at winning the show’s KRW44.8billion cash prize. However, all their necessities – food, water, electricity and more – need to be paid for and will cost a thousand times more than they normally would. The money is deducted from the overall cash prize at the end of the 100 days.

However, it is currently unclear if The 8 Show will remain largely faithful to the original game mechanics set out in the webcomic.

Who will star in the new Netflix series?

The eight contestants will be played by Reply 1988 and Losts Ryu Jun-yeol, Unlocked’s Chun Won-hee, Hellbound‘s Park Jeong-min, Nevertheless‘ Lee Yul-eum, Arthdal Chronicles’ Park Hae-joon, Believer’s Lee Joo-young, Times’ Moon Jeong-hee and Bae Sung-woo, who will also be starring in Disney+’s upcoming K-drama, Light Shop

Singer-actress IU was previously announced to have been cast on The 8 Show as early as January 2022, however later pulled out of production in May 2022 due to scheduling conflicts, per her representatives at EDAM Entertainment. She was later replaced by Chun Won-hee on the series.

Hae Jae-rim (of The Face Reader and Emergency Declaration fame) helmed both the script and direction of the upcoming series under Studio N, which previously worked on K-dramas such as Our Beloved SummerYumi’s Cells and Sweet Home. 

Is there a trailer for The 8 Show?

Netflix released the date announcement for The 8 Show on April 11, providing the very first look into the highly anticipated series. The teaser introduces the eight contestants of the show in a silent film format. The trailer also shows each contestant passing through gargantuan red curtains as they agree to participate on the show, before cryptic clips of the game’s events are shown.

How do I watch The 8 Show?

The new series will make its international premiere exclusively on Netflix on May 17, per the date announcement. The streamer also unveiled the official poster for the series – see it below:

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Watch Jackson Wang and BIBI debut new song ‘Feeling Lucky’ at Coachella 2024

As part of music label 88rising’s ‘Futures’ set this year

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K-pop stars Jackson Wang and BIBI performed an unreleased duet together, reportedly titled ‘Feeling Lucky’, for the first time at Coachella 2024 – watch clips from their performance below.

The pair were part of the line-up for the 88rising ‘Futures’ set at Coachella on April 14 on the Mojave stage, and also unveiled a brand-new, unreleased track titled ‘Feeling Lucky’.

The new song, which was performed entirely in English, is a sultry duet between the two singers, with its title confirmed by the label itself earlier today (April 14) in a new post on X (formerly Twitter).

“There’s something about the way that it tastes / You’re running around at a dangerous pace / You know what to do, and you know what to say / And when you’re away, I’m always thinkin’ about you,” the duo croon together on the song’s chorus, backed by a live band. Watch footage of the ‘Feeling Lucky’ performance below.

88rising’s ‘Futures’ set at Coachella will return this coming weekend on April 21 on the same stage. Aside from Wang and BIBI, the set also features a slew of other Asian artists, including Korea’s Tiger JK and Yoonmirae, Japan’s YOASOBI, boyband Number_i and Atarashii Gakko!, among others.

Outside of 88rising’s set, this year’s iteration of the iconic festival features three K-pop acts on its line-up: LE SSERAFIM (who also performed on Sunday), ATEEZ (who performed day one) and The Rose.

In other Coachella news, Will Smith joined J Balvin for a cover of the Men In Black theme song, dressed as his character from the 1997 film. Elsewhere in his festival set, Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Jowell & Randy came through as surprise guests and performed ‘Colmillo’ with Balvin as well as ‘Triple S’ with De La Ghetto who also appeared as a guest.

For more live updates as it happens, check out NME’s liveblog for Coachella 2024 here.

Check back here for the latest news, reviews and more from Coachella 2024. 

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Seori on the weight of creating personal art: “Comforting words are not as helpful as your honest emotions”

The soul-stirring singer-songwriter chats with NME about her new mini-album ‘fake Happy’, starting fresh with a new label and more

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Seori has an aura to her that feels like a clear bubble. It’s glossy, shiny and very delicate, and most importantly, it encases within it a soft-spoken but upbeat woman with a natural talent for song. It’s see-through and what Seori puts on display feels scarily real: she’s always had a knack for balancing mystery and vulnerability since her debut in 2020 with ‘?depacse ohw’.

Known for her introspective, stirring lyrics and a uniquely sweet vocal tone, Seori is loved for many things – from adding depth to tearjerker K-dramas through her soundtrack contributions to bringing Tomorrow X Together’s ‘0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You)’ to life – but most of all, she is loved for her ability to effortlessly touch hearts through her music. Her latest mini-album ‘Fake Happy’, and first in two years, forges her character as an artist with a focused and flawless exploration of the self.

More effort was poured onto the four-part record than she ever has before. “As I haven’t released an album for a really long time, I tried to focus on touching the fans,” she explains to NME over a video call from Seoul with a sheepish look on her face. In the time between this album and her last single ‘Can’t Stop The Party’ in 2022, Seori started her new chapter and signed with Label Sayu.

She took a chance with the new label in hopes for a clean new slate, and she cherishes the experience of being able to grow with the people who are working alongside her in her elevation to stardom. “Working with the new staff and new producers has been really fun and touching because I could definitely feel their efforts while making this album,” Seori shares. “I hope to continue to solidify my distinctive artistic identity as I work with them, and I’m so far really thankful that I have finally been able to release new music.”

Bringing us back to her new music, Seori tells NME that because the record took her some time to release, she wanted to “show my honest and sincere feelings to the fans” while also considering “what would be meaningful for not only myself but also for the fans”. Music has always been a form of escapism – we all seek solace in soothing tunes and the artists who create them. Seori knows there is power in touching the hearts of her listeners and bravely leans into personal vulnerabilities with ‘Fake Happy’.

“After thinking about those topics on my inner feelings, I came to the conclusion that the theme of this album should be about the difficult emotions and inner feelings that I did not express before,” she says, while admitting that it was “very difficult” to bare her soul about the topic on the record. “However, one of the tracks on my album, ‘Broken’, really helped and directed me to figure out what kind of messages I wanted to deliver.”

The result was a short but sweet expansion of the feelings that branch out from those expressed in ‘Broken’, which first released early this year, during the peak of winter. “Something’s broken inside of me / Although you did nothing to me / I’ve got hurt so hard by / Look at you and me on the screen / No one can set me free,” she laments in a cry toward the snow-white void, as she visually brings to life in her music video for the song.

There was no particular reason why she chose it as a pre-release single, other than the simple fact that she thought it felt like an appropriate song for the season. “I think it goes really well with the winter moods, so I wanted to release it before the winter times were over,” she giggles while recalling. But, Seori does emphasise that ‘Broken’ does hold significance for this album as its backbone: “It’s especially meaningful in the sense that it really helped and guided me to decide the direction of the album.”

“The main topic of ‘Broken’ is about feeling a sense of inferiority compared to others and envy, which I have wanted to [open up about] to my fans for a really long time. After I decided on the topic, I thought that being sincere to myself and talking about my honest emotions without covering them up would be a meaningful connection between the fans and me,” Seori recalls, adding that she began narrowing down a small collection of tracks based on the precedent ‘Broken’ has set for its mood and message.

As for ‘Broken’, there was no particular reason why she chose it as a pre-release single, other than the simple fact that she thought it felt like an appropriate song for the season. “I think it goes really well with the winter moods, so I wanted to release it before the winter times were over,” she giggles while recalling. But, Seori does emphasise that ‘Broken’ does hold significance for this album as its backbone: “It’s especially meaningful in the sense that it really helped and guided me to decide the direction of the album.”

On the technical front, Seori takes a carefully calculated move as she introduces tinges of guitar-driven rock to the sound that skyrocketed her to mainstream popularity, which she described as “synth pop and electronic pop”. In particular, she delves into further detail about the inspiration behind ‘Fake Happy’ opener ‘Kill The Day’: “I also wanted to incorporate rock sources into my new music, as rock music has been one of my favourite genres since I was younger.”

Seori. Credit: Label Sayu

As opposed to ‘Kill The Day’’s grungier sound, title track ‘Fake Happy’ takes a squarely pop direction while drawing from the same inspirations. Despite being the face of the album, ‘Fake Happy’ was the track Seori worked on last, saying she had her mind set on creating a dedicated track that “has more impact and connects them together”. The singer adds: “I think ‘Fake Happy’ carries out that pivotal role really well and highlights what I wanted to talk about in this album. I’m satisfied that it keeps a good balance and stays as a focal point.”

Overall, though, Seori says the record is more about being true to one’s own emotions, saying: “I think that forcing oneself to say comforting words or suggesting actual solutions is not as helpful as sharing the honest and sincere emotions that you’re going through.” That’s the reason why she has chosen to use her own life stories as a way to relate to others instead of giving advice.

“I hope the listeners can feel my empathy through my music when they are going through difficult times,” Seori says, with a sincerity in her disposition that is hard to miss. Now, with new music already ticked off her list of things to accomplish, Seori is looking towards her next milestones: performing live for her fans, maybe even overseas. “I made my debut during the pandemic, so I didn’t have many opportunities [to do so],” Seori explains. “I’m really eager to see them in person from now on!”

Seori’s new mini-album ‘Fake Happy’ is out now on Spotify, Apple Music and more.

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MAMAMOO’s Solar teases new solo mini-album ‘Colours’

The follow-up to ‘容 : FACE’ is on the way

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MAMAMOO singer Solar will be releasing her second solo mini-album, titled ‘Colours’, later this month.

Solar released a teaser for ‘Colours’ earlier today (April 8) through the official MAMAMOO X (formerly Twitter) account. The clip features a cryptic, animated graphic of Solar’s name that slowly morphs to spell ‘Colours’.

The singer’s new mini-album will be released on April 30. More details about the project, such as its tracklist, title track and more, are expected in the coming weeks.

‘Colours’ is the long-awaited follow-up to Solar’s debut mini-album ‘容 : FACE’, which dropped in March 2022. The project was led by the single ‘Honey’, co-penned and produced by Solar herself. Other tracks on that album also included ‘Raw’, the viral ‘Big Booty’ and more.

In a glowing four-star review of the albumNME’s Rhian Daly described ‘容 : FACE’ as a “record of balmy bops”. She added that the release “balances surprises and sultriness over five tracks that leave you wanting more”.

In the time since, Solar joined forces with bandmate Moonbyul to form MAMAMOO’s first subunit, called MAMAMOO+. The pair debuted with ‘Better’ in August 2022, which featured rapper BIG Naughty.

They then made their first comeback as an act in early 2023 with mini-album ‘Two Rabbits’. MAMAMOO also made a full group comeback in October 2022 with mini-album ‘Mic ON’, featuring lead single ‘ILLELLA’.

In other K-pop news, (G)I-DLE’s Yuqi recently revealed the official tracklist of her solo debut mini-album ‘YUQ1’, due out later this month. It will be led by title track ‘Freak’, and feature collaborations with bandmate Minnie, rapper pH-1 and more.

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EXO’s D.O announces new mini-album ‘Blossom’, due out in May

Set to feature six new songs, including title track ‘Mars’

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EXO singer D.O has announced a new solo mini-album called ‘Blossom’, due out next month.

D.O announced ‘Blososm’ today (April 8) through his label Company Soosoo‘s social media, which included the first visual for the upcoming record. The teaser image features a humanoid figurine made of various mechanical keyboard components, with a keycap spelling out ‘D.O’ for a head.

‘Blossom’ will feature six new songs and will be led by a title track called ‘Mars’, according to a notice posted to the label’s website. The mini-album is due out on May 7 at 6pm KST.

‘Blossom’ will most notably mark D.O’s first music release since he left long-time label SM Entertainment in October 2023 after 11 years with the company. Thereafter he founded Company Soosoo with a former SM Entertainment manager for his solo projects.

The upcoming release will also be the EXO member’s third solo mini-album, arriving about eight months after his sophomore release ‘Expectation’ in September 2023. He officially branched out as a solo act in July 2021 with the release of debut mini-album ‘Empathy’, led by title track ‘Rose’.

Following the release of ‘Blossom’, D.O will embark on an expansive tour of Asia in support of the record. The tour will begin with two kick-off shows in Seoul on June 8 and 9, before he proceeds to play shows in cities across Southeast Asia, Japan and East Asia until September 2024.

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BoA seemingly hints at retirement in cryptic Instagram post

“Until then, I will do my best as a singer happily”

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K-pop artist BoA has seemingly hinted at plans to retire from the music industry in a cryptic Instagram post.

Over the weekend on April 6, BoA stirred discussion about her potential retirement when she posted Instagram Stories that talked about the upcoming end of her current contract with SM Entertainment. “Now that my contract is ending, I can retire, right?” she wrote, as translated by Koreaboo.

The day after the original post went up, BoA seemingly responded to the speculations about her retirement, revealing that her current contract with long-time label SM Entertainment will only expire in late-2025.

“My contract ends on December 31, 2025! Until then, I will do my best as a singer happily,” she wrote. “Don’t worry, my beloved Jumpings (BoA’s official fanbase).” However, BoA did not provide further comment on her potential decision to retire.

Shortly after BoA’s post went viral, netizens in Korea brought up the recent wave of negative comments that have been directed towards the idol’s appearance as a possible reason for the singer’s cryptic posts.

BoA made her debut at the age of 13 in 2000 with ‘ID; Peace B’, before going on to achieve massive success in Japan and Korea. She most recently released a standalone single titled ‘Emptiness’ late last month.

BoA was also been deeply involved in the production and debut of NCT’s latest and final unitNCT WISH. SM Entertainment made her involvement in the boyband’s debut public in January, telling press that she oversaw the production of the group’s music and performances.

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Kep1er to release their final album as a group, in talks for contract extensions

They debuted as a project group with only two and a half years on their contracts, which will expire in July

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Kep1er have been confirmed to be gearing up for their final album as a group, and are also currently in talks to extend their contracts.

The K-pop girl group’s contracts as a temporary project are due to officially expire this year on July 3. This was a condition set by the survival show that formed Kep1er, Girls Planet 999which stipulated that the winning line-up would embark on a two-and-a-half-year contract when the show concluded in October 2021. The group made their official debut in January 2022.

Earlier today (April 3), the band’s managing company, WAKEONE, confirmed that the nine-piece are currently amid preparations for their final album as a group. It provided a brief statement to Dispatch, per Soompi: “Kep1er is preparing for a new album. We are currently in positive discussions with each member’s agency to extend the group contract.”

While specifics about Kep1er’s next music are scarce, initial reports claimed that the band are aiming to release the record sometime in May, however that was not explicitly confirmed by WAKEONE. More details such as a title, format, release date and tracklist will be announced at a later stage.

This comes less than two months since Kep1er announced the ‘2024 Kep1ine’, which detailed plans for the group to release two new albums for the coming year – one in Japanese and the other in Korean.

Currently, Kep1er are in the lead-up to the release of their first release of the year, which is the Japanese album ‘Kep1going’ slated for release on May 8. The album will be led by title track ‘Straight Line’.

Although WAKEONE claim to be in “positive discussions” about contract renewals, these talks were revealed to have been ongoing since as early as September 2023. At the time, the company described it as “a meeting to establish a roadmap and strategy for the artists’ long-term activities”, however no updates have been publicly disclosed as of writing.

Their last domestic release was the mini-album ‘Magic Hour’, which dropped in late September 2023. The record was led by title track ‘Galileo’, and included four other B-sides: ‘The Door’, ‘Love on Lock’, ‘Tropical Light’ and ‘Tape’.

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EXO’s Lay to release new album this month, including a Korean version

It will be his first-ever solo project to be promoted in Korea since he went solo in 2016

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EXO‘s Lay will be releasing a new album sometime this month, which will be released alongside a Korean-language version.

The Chinese idol’s label, n.cH Entertainment, made the announcement earlier today (April 5), per Korea JoongAng DailyAccording to the company’s statement, Lay is set to drop the album sometime in mid-April, although a specific date has yet to be specified.

It also announced that a Korean version of the album will be released concurrently, and that he will be promoting the album on Korean music broadcast shows. Other details such as title, format and tracklist have yet to be shared by him or his label, but are expected in the coming days.

While Lay has been an established soloist in China since he debuted with the ‘Lose Control’ mini-album in 2016, he has mainly released music in Mandarin through four mini-albums, four full-length albums and a handful of standalone singles in the time since.

His upcoming as-yet-untitled release will mark Lay’s first-ever solo project to receive a Korean-language version and promotional activities in South Korea. He last appeared on EXO’s seventh mini-album ‘Don’t Fight The Feeling’ in 2021, including in the music video for its title track of the same name.

It marked his first appearance on an EXO record since a Chinese version of 2018’s ‘Tempo’ was released, however he was unable to meet with the rest of the band for its production and filming due to pandemic restrictions.

EXO’s Lay Zhang. Credit: SM Entertainment

However, Lay was not involved in EXO’s most recent release as a group, which was 2023’s ‘Exist’, headlined by title track ‘Cream Soda’. The album featured only seven out of nine members during promotional activities, as Kai had already enlisted for mandatory military service by the time of the record’s release. However, Kai’s vocals were still included on the album.

Lay’s comeback will also mark his first music under n.CH Entertainment, which he signed with after leaving longtime agency SM Entertainment in 2022 following contract expiration. Despite his departure from the label, he was never officially announced to be no longer part of the band.

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LE SSERAFIM named “Friends of the NBA” in Asia in new multi-year collaboration

The band, along with BTS’ Suga, are now the only K-pop artists to be officially affiliated with the association

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) has appointed K-pop girl group LE SSERAFIM as “Friends of the NBA” in Asia as part of a new multi-year collaboration.

The “Friends of the NBA” programme is described by the association as “the league’s celebrity and influencer programme in Asia to engage fans in new and creative ways”, per a press statement released today (April 5).

Billed as a “celebration of the intersection of sports and music”, the programme will see LE SSERAFIM attend NBA games and events, collaborate with the association on “a variety of exclusive content” to be featured on both parties’ social media channels, participate in promotional activities for the league and more.

In the same press release, LE SSERAFIM spoke of the newly established collaboration in a joint statement: “We are so excited to collaborate with the NBA through its ‘Friends of the NBA’ program. We had a great time watching an NBA game in person last year in LA! We look forward to working together with the league to experience so much more with NBA fans around the world.”

LE SSERAFIM in 2024. Credit: The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images

Meanwhile, NBA chief marketing officer Tammy Henault also said, “We’re thrilled to team up with breakout K-pop sensation LE SSERAFIM, a young and dynamic group
of NBA fans. Through this collaboration, we look forward to bringing NBA and K-pop fans together in South Korea, across Asia, and around the world and broadening the reach of our game as we celebrate this convergence of music, culture and sports.”

With this, LE SSERAFIM have become the first K-pop group to have an official affiliation with the association. The band follow in the footsteps of HYBE labelmate Suga of BTS, named NBA Ambassador in April 2023, who is the only other K-pop artist to do so.

In November last year, the five-piece made a public visit to the NBA headquarters, the official NBA Store in New York and attended the November 2 LA Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers game.

In other K-pop news, BtoB’s Sungjae revealed in a recent interview that he believes the key to BtoB’s longevity as a group in the K-pop industry is their lack of contact with each other. “You know how you don’t really talk much with your family members. It’s basically like that with them,” he explained.

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